Support for, and success of, Indigenous students in access programs at four Canadian universities: educators’ perspectives and practices
Master of Education
Support and success for Indigenous students in access programs
Lakehead University Native Access Program
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Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s recent report on Indigenous Post- Secondary Education reported that 10% of Indigenous peoples in Canada hold a university degree, compared to 26% of non-Indigenous people. Yet, Indian and Northern Affairs (2011) contend that education is key to future employment and income for Indigenous peoples. To address this gap, some post-secondary institutions in Canada provide access programs for Indigenous students. This thesis explored access programs within four postsecondary institutions in Canada. I asked how educators viewed their roles in providing academic, cultural, and personal support for Indigenous student success in these programs. The methodology used was Indigenous Métissage (Donald, 2009) with a desire-based framework (Tuck, 2009). Methods were interviews with educators using conversation method (Kovach, 2009). Four themes emerged: 1) Building and maintaining relationships, 2) Responding to the whole student, 3) Empowering students, and 4) Student success in access programs. The findings reflected educators’ multiple roles within access programs and evoked wise practices (Wesley-Esquimaux & Calliou, 2010), which informed data analysis. Educators’ practices illuminated relationality with students in access programs through locally and culturally responsive practices that strove to balance student needs with university requirements. Conclusions and recommendations follow. This study contributes educators’ perspectives on relationality and success for Indigenous students in access programs in Canada.